Skip to main content
Cutout image of Bart Simpson

Pop Culture

Filter by

Select Air Date


Select Segment Types

Segment Types

153 Segments




Comic Crankiness and Conservatism.

Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews "BAD, or the Dumbing of America," by Paul Fussell. In his book, Fussell decries the decline of quality and taste in everything from movies to education. (It's published by Summit Books).


A Good, but Not Great Book.

Critic-at-Large Maureen Corrigan reviews Greil Marcus' new book, "Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession." (Doubleday)


Joining the Sedentary Lifestyle.

Commentator Maureen Corrigan tells us about her latest concession to the sedentary lifestyle...the purchase of a La-Z-Boy recliner.


The Pop Culture Residue of the Cold War.

Now that the Cold War's over, Pop culture scholar Michael Barson has written "Better Dead Than Red! A Nostalgic Look At The Golden Years Of Russiaphobia, Red-Baiting, And Other Commie Madness." (Hyperion) It's a look at how popular culture fueled public hysteria during the cold war -- from the Children's Crusade Against Communism bubble gum card series to the Hollywood production "I was a Communist for the F-B-I." By the way... the book is due to arrive in stores on Mayday 1992.


A Semiotic Reading of American Culture

Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews "American Mythologies" by Marshall Blonsky, which seeks to recover the meaning behind the totality of American cultural production, from fast food to news anchors to pornography. Corrigan admires the project, but says Blonsky doesn't seem to like or respect his subjects.


The Life and Death of Superman

On the occasion of end of the Superman comic, language commentator Geoffrey Nunberg considers the origin of the word "Superman," and how "super" began to be used in other ways.


Adventures in Pop Culture Criticism.

At the recent Public Radio Conference in San Antonio, Texas, three Fresh Air arts reviewers swapped stories at a critics forum. Rock critic, Ken Tucker; commentator and book critic, Maureen Corrigan; and TV critic, David Bianculli, offered their thoughts on issues such as media hype and how to deal with it. They shared anecdotes about angry subjects of negative reviews who seek revenge against the reviewer. That panel discussion will be aired today.


Writer Pagan Kennedy.

Writer for the Village Voice and The Nation Pagan Kennedy. Kennedy ("Pagan" is not her real first name) has staked out a niche for herself as a "1970's survivor and devotee." Kennedy has written an investigation of that decade, seen through its artifacts and social upheaval, "Platforms: A Microwaved Cultural Chronicle of the 1970's" (St. Martins). In the 70's she says, "we inherited this idea of recycling culture.


Conventional Portrayals of Women on TV Can Have Feminist Potential

Susan Douglas is a professor of media and American studies at Hampshire College. She has just written a book “Where the Girls Are,” that looks at women in baby-boomer pop culture. She explains how the media’s alternating images of stereotypical femininity and feminism created a kind of “schizophrenia” in American women. She talks about how this confusion has caused ambivalence in American women about what feminism means.


Subversive Ideas Circulate in China's New Popular Culture

China scholar Orville Schell has written nine books about China, as well as contributed to magazines and television. His latest book, "Mandate of Heaven," examines the Tiananmen Square massacre and looks at how the younger generation will come to power. He says popular culture has become the newest arena for dissent and political change.


No Celebrity Was Spared from Walter Winchell's Wrath

Walter Winchell was the man who legitimized gossip columns, tabloid news, and celebrity watching. He rose from a poor New York family to become one of the most read columnists, and eventually consulted with F.D.R. and Joe McCarthy. Writer Neal Gabler has written a biography about Winchell. "Winchell: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity" helps explain the man who was the source of our current celebrity-obsessed culture.


Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue